Faithful with the Gospel

Matthew 25:14-30 Parable of the Talents

14“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. 15To one he gave five talents[a] of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. 17So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. 18But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

19“After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them.20The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’

21“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

22“The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’

23“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

24“Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

26“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

28” ‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 29For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.30And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Growing up in church I have heard many sermons about this parable.  I have heard it being referenced to whenever some “church folk” are asked to give money.  Or when someone’s tithing is in question and that particular person finds themselves in need.  A “church folk” would paraphrase this scripture, stating that the person was irresponsible with what God has given them.  That may or may not be true but the point of this posting is to not debate that but to shade light on the fact that Jesus’ focus is not merely financial responsibility.  Take in account the parables surrounding this one…  Before the parable of the talents we have; the parable of the ten virgins and then below it we have the parable of the sheep and the goats.  Both of these two parables speak about being prepared for the returning of the Bridegroom, who is Jesus Christ.  And do we know what is going to happen when the Bridegroom returns?  Judgement of but good and bad deeds….  So why would Christ sandwich a parable strictly about money between two parables which speak about readiness for the Kingdom of God?

Commentary InterVarsity Press.

As in 24:45-51, readiness for Jesus’ return here demands faithfulness in doing the work he has called us to do. This warning applies to all disciples, but perhaps most seriously to church leaders: “A Christian leader who does not lead is damned” (Meier 1980:300).

We have the opportunity to multiply what Christ has entrusted to us. Matthew seems to make a special point in noting that the master gave to each according to his ability–he already knew which slaves would be most industrious, but expected all to show some industry. In the Roman Empire slaves could earn wages and bonuses and acquire property (as in Apul. Metam. 10.13; Cohen 1966:179-278), hence they would have more incentive to look out for the master’s property than slaves in many cultures do. Householders going on long journeys might entrust their estate to slaves to oversee (compare 24:45-51), since household slaves often held managerial roles (for example, Treggiari 1975:49). Thus the servants understood very well what was required of them.

Jesus promises eternal reward for those who prove worthy of his trust. The servants’ rewards were commensurate with their faithfulness in pursuing the master’s interest. Elsewhere we encounter the principle that one untrustworthy in what is his own will not be trustworthy in what concerns others (Lk 16:10-12; m. Demai 2:2); here we find the principle that only those proved in small leadership positions will be prepared for bigger ones (compare, for example, Ep. Arist. 264; t. Hagiga 2:9). In the context of the preceding parable (Mt 25:10), sharing the master’s happiness probably connotes banqueting with the master.

Professed disciples who insult Christ’s grace by neglecting his commission in this world are damned. But as in the preceding parable (25:12), the exclusion of the unfaithful, who insult their patron’s trust in them, is explicit: it involves hell’s darkness (8:12; 22:13) and wailing (22:13). When the lazy servant declares, “Here is your own money back!” he refuses to acknowledge responsibility, a responsibility he could have easily enough fulfilled. Having already failed the master’s trust, he now proceeds to insult the master. He offers an excuse no master would have accepted: knowing the master’s reputation for sternness, he was paralyzed with fear (25:24-25). He is like too many Christians so overwhelmed by the magnitude of God’s task that we put off contributing anything to it. The master rightly responds, “On the assumption that I am indeed hard and merciless, you should have been all the more diligent!” (vv. 26-27).

Whereas the other servants are rewarded by the master’s benevolence, this servant, fearing the master’s harshness but unaware of his benevolence (compare Patte 1987:346), experiences the very wrath he feared. This, says Jesus, is what will happen to those who claim to be his followers but do not invest their lives in the work of the kingdom.

Have we become so consumed with the possibility of material wealth and the increase of things that we would take God’s word out of context?  Do we wish to have nothing to do with being faithful with the Gospel and carrying out the Great Commission?  Or are we really that ashamed to be associated with Christ that we will read what we want into the bible?  And if we do perform our duties we think that we are something special and we elevate ourselves.  We then display the unprepared virgins and the goats.  How fitting that they both are present in the same chapter we have profaned in the sight of God.  God blesses those who are fruitful to be fruitful you have to be about the Father’s business of Gospel and allowing Christ to live through you…  I don’t want to make this post long but some will want scriptural proof:

John 15:1-8

1“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful.3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

5“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

Galatians 5:22-26

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

John 15:9-17

9“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command. 15I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 17This is my command: Love each other.

Matthew 28:16-20

16Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Luke 17:10So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’ ”

So if we are faithful with the Gospel God will take care of us…. Where have we read this before?

Matthew 6:19-24, 32-34

19“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

22“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light.23But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

24“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.

32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
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